Summary: Two thousand years ago the crowd desired Jesus to do something spectacular in Jerusalem. There are many today who would want see Jesus do something awesome or miraculous, maybe raise a dead man before taking a step to acknowledge Him as their King and Lo
Illustration: “Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna sanna sanna , ho sanna, hey sanna, Hey, hey JC, JC won’t you smile at me. Jesus Christ, if you’re divine, turn my water into wine. Prove to me that you’re no fool. Walk across my swimming pool. Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna.” With these words, Weber and Rice’s rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar” have captured the glimmer of that first Palm Sunday parade; that nationalistic religious fevered carnival of Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna; Jesus Christ if you’re divine, turn my water into wine.
Two thousand years ago the crowd desired Jesus to do something spectacular in Jerusalem. He had healed people, raised some from the dead and now they wanted Him to turn the tables on the Roman regime. They had already encouraged Him to save them and be their King. That was the scenario then not very different from what it is today. Well there are many today who would want see Jesus do something awesome or miraculous, maybe raise a dead man and then take a step to acknowledge Him as their King & Lord. We got to find out today as to where we stand!
Let us read Matthew 21 and pick up the story from verse 1 going down to verse 11.
Historical Background: The last time Israel had been independent was a hundred years ago, when Judas Maccabeus had led them to victory and became king. His nickname was "the hammer," and he had adopted the palm branch as a symbol of his victory (1 Macc. 13:51; 2 Macc. 10:7). He put the image of a palm branch on his coins, and had them used in temple feasts to celebrate the victory over Rome. When the crowd rushed to get palm branches for this occasion, it was not just because they were convenient. The revolution had started years before. We will briefly examine four dates in this rising political nationalism. It was 63 B.C., and Pompeii was the Roman general who conquered Israel, and now the Israelites found themselves again in slavery after three hundred years of freedom. The Israelites were trying to get rid of the Romans. The Jews hated the Romans for many reasons. The Romans made the Jews eat pork, which a Jew would never do. The Romans were forcing them to worship Caesar, which a Jew would never do. The Romans forbade circumcising their children, which the Jews would never do. The Romans were seducing them out of their Judaism. The Jews hated the Romans and there was a revolution going on. Sometime about the year 6-4 B.C., the great builder, King Herod, who had rebuilt their Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, 150 feet long and 150 feet high, a magnificent temple, turned from being Herod the Builder to Herod the Killer and he ordered all boys two and under to be killed. The killer king didn’t want any baby messiah being born who would grow up to be a political king. About twelve years later, Zaduk the Pharisee led a revolution in and around Jerusalem and two thousand of his followers were killed. The Romans strung them up; they hung them up on crosses. Can you imagine Highway 80, from Iowa City to New York; twenty miles of roadway, on every block there were ten men hanging dead on crosses, not for one mile but for twenty miles. Two thousand dead men hanging on crosses for the entire world to see? Would that send a message the Jewish population what the Romans do with political revolutionaries?
And then, on this Passover day, when Jesus came riding into town, there had already been thirty-two political riots … in five years. In other words, it was political pandemonium. It was chaos. The town was ready to blow up with any spark. We are told that three to five million people were jammed into that town, and it was ready to ignite.
Jesus rode on a jackass into town. The crowds wanted him to ride on a tall white horse, dignified in the sunlight or on a chariot of war, glistening in its golden trim. But Jesus rode on an animal of peace, not of war. The crowd wanted him to grasp a sword in his hand and wave that sword to show what he and his followers would do to the Romans, but he had an olive branch of peace in his fingers. The crowds wanted him to give enflamed and impassioned oratory to inspire them into revolution; they wanted the shouts of soldiers but they heard only the songs of children. And Jesus? Jesus didn’t say a word. Not a word as he rode into that city.
The crowd was chanting at the top of their lungs, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna to the King.” And slowly, and gradually, the Hosannas became quieter and quieter and quieter. Then nothing. By afternoon, another chant had begun, almost in a whisper, “crucify him,” softly, softly, louder, louder and finally bursting with power, “Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify that man. He’s a bloody imposter. A fake. He’s no king, that’s for sure.”